Dezful is a city in the south-western province of Khuzestan, 155 km. north of the provincial capital, Ahvaz.
The city is located at the foot of the Zagros Mountains and has a history that dates back to the Sassanian era. The area around Dezful has been home to civilizations for 5000 years.
Located in an area with a history that extends back to ancient civilization, the city houses a bridge that dates back to 300 AD.
The name Dezful has been derived from the two words dezh (fortress) + pul (bridge), which in combination could stand for ‘the bridge to the fortress’ or ‘fortified bridge’. The original name of the city was Dezhpul, but after the Muslim conquest of Persia, the city was renamed Dezful, since the Arabic language does not have ‘p’ and ‘zh’ sounds.
Dezful is one of the oldest cities in the Khuzestan province. According to Walther Hinz excavations, Awan (capital of the first Elam empire) was located in Dezful. The bridge was built during the reign of Shapur I who used Roman prisoners of war after the Battle of Edessa to build the bridge.
The bridge protected the city from military interventions, hence its name. The old part of the city adjacent to the bridge is known as the Qaleh (castle). In the middle of the river, close to the bridge, you can see remains of several water mills built ca. 300 AD. Most of them were actually used up to the beginning of the 20th century. The last one was in use up to 1985.
The Academy of Gundishapur, a teaching hospital that was the intellectual centre of the Sassanid empire, was founded near Dezful.